Our history

Tocal has a long and proud history, which has seen it established as one of the foremost agricultural institutions in Australia. Tocal is on lands formerly inhabited by the Gringai clan of the Wonnarua people. The name 'Tocal' is a Kouri word meaning 'plenty'.

In 1964, the first soil was turned to begin construction. The College buildings were the inspiration of the architects, Philip Cox and Ian McKay. For their efforts they were awarded the Sulman prize and Blacket award for the buildings of outstanding merit.

The first students were admitted in March 1965, the campus being functional but incomplete. They lived and learnt with construction going on around them. 

On 6 November, 1965 the CB Alexander Presbyterian Agricultural College was officially opened by then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. The short black and white video below shows the opening of the college back in 1965. 

The College has grown to be one of Australia’s largest and most diverse agricultural colleges. The College’s operation was transferred to the NSW Department of Agriculture in 1970 and it continues to be operated by the NSW Government through the Department of Primary Industries.

In 2006 the original College was consolidated with the former Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture to form Tocal College and it now delivers programs throughout NSW.

Tocal has gained an enviable reputation in agricultural education with a particular focus on farming and land management. It now provides training including skills recognition in around twenty courses with up to four hundred people graduating each year. 

The College is fortunate to be located on the wonderful Tocal estate, one of the first land grants in the Hunter Valley with the Indigenous name of the locality now being the name of the College. We understand Tocal meant plenty or big in the local dialect of the Gringai Clan of the Wonnaruah people.